UX Crash Course: 31 Fundamentals

My New Year’s Resolution for 2014 was to get more people started in User Experience (UX) Design. I posted one lesson every day in January, and thousands of people came to learn!

Below you will find links to all 31 daily lessons.

Basic UX Principles: How to get started

The following list isn’t everything you can learn in UX. It’s a quick overview, so you can go from zero-to-hero as quickly as possible. You will get a practical taste of all the big parts of UX, and a sense of where you need to learn more. The order of the lessons follows a real-life UX process (more or less) so you can apply these ideas as-you-go. Each lesson also stands alone, so feel free to bookmark them as a reference!


Introduction & Key Ideas

#01 — What is UX?

#02 — User Goals & Business Goals

#03 — The 5 Main Ingredients of UX


How to Understand Users

#04 — What is User Research?

#05 — How to Ask People Questions

#06 — Creating User Profiles

#07 — Designing for Devices

#08 — Design Patterns


Information Architecture

#09 — What is Information Architecture?

#10 — User Stories & Types of Information Architecture

#11 — What is a Wireframe?


Visual Design Principles

#12 — Visual Weight, Contrast & Depth

#13 — Colour

#14 — Repetition & Pattern-Breaking

#15 — Line Tension & Edge Tension

#16 — Alignment & Proximity


Functional Layout Design

#17 — Z-Pattern, F-Pattern, and Visual Hierarchy

#18 — Browsing vs. Searching vs. Discovery

#19 — Page Framework

#20 — The Fold, Images, & Headlines

#21 — The Axis of Interaction

#22 — Forms

#23 — Calls-to-Action, Instructions & Labels

#24 — Primary & Secondary Buttons


User Psychology

#25 — Conditioning

#26 — Persuasion

#27 — How Experience Changes Experience


Designing with Data

#28 — What is Data?

#29 — Summary Statistics

#30 — Graph Shapes

#31 — A/B Tests


All done? There is a sequel to this course: 

UX Crash Course: User Psychology


If you know someone else who wants to learn UX, please share!

If this is how you discovered my blog, it doesn’t stop here! I post a lot of awesome shit about UX, design, persuasion, and human behaviour. It’s a lot easier than hunting for links on your own!

Comments? Questions? Concerns? Find me on Twitter.

VIDEO: Police in Ferguson arrest Washington Post and Huffington Post reporters


Speaking of cops who hate accountability and the 1st Amendment, the situation in Ferguson, MO is growing more and more frustrating to watch.  Last night, police actually arrested two reporters because they weren’t “packing their bags quickly enough” as the McDonalds where they were working from was being evacuated. 

Here’s the video:

from WaPo:

An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, “Stop recording.”

I said, “Officer, do I not have the right to record you?”

He backed off but told me to hurry up. So I gathered my notebook and pens with one hand while recording him with the other hand.

As I exited, I saw Ryan to my left, having a similar argument with two officers. I recorded him, too, and that angered the officer. As I made my way toward the door, the officers gave me conflicting information.

One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged, blocking my path.

“Go another way,” he said.

As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”

Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.

As they took me into custody, the officers slammed me into a soda machine, at one point setting off the Coke dispenser. They put plastic cuffs on me, then they led me out the door.

I could see Ryan still talking to an officer. I said: “Ryan, tweet that they’re arresting me, tweet that they’re arresting me.”

He didn’t have an opportunity, because he was arrested as well.

The officers led us outside to a police van. Inside, there was a large man sitting on the floor between the two benches. He began screaming: “I can’t breathe! Call a paramedic! Call a paramedic!”

Ryan and I asked the officers if they intended to help the man. They said he was fine. The screaming went on for the 10 to 15 minutes we stood outside the van.

“I’m going to die!” he screamed. “I’m going to die! I can’t breathe! I’m going to die!”

Eventually a police car arrived. A woman — with a collar identifying her as a member of the clergy — sat in the back. Ryan and I crammed in next to her, and we took the three-minute ride to the Ferguson Police Department. The woman sang hymns throughout the ride.

During this time, we asked the officers for badge numbers. We asked to speak to a supervising officer. We asked why we were being detained. We were told: trespassing in a McDonald’s.

“I hope you’re happy with yourself,” one officer told me. And I responded: “This story’s going to get out there. It’s going to be on the front page of The Washington Post tomorrow.”

And he said, “Yeah, well, you’re going to be in my jail cell tonight.”

read the rest

If the police in Furguson are looking for any sympathy in what is obviously an out-of-control situation, they’re not doing themselves any favors.  They’ve gone from excessive use of force to violating the 1st Amendment in a span of a few short days. 

You see, liberty goes both ways.  Cops do not have special Constitutional rights that allow them to take the life or liberty away from others.  By the same token, when cops use excessive force or even act criminally, those actions give no one the right to go out and destroy innocent people’s private property in a riot.  

There is extreme examples of wrongdoing on both sides in Ferguson. One simply cannot pick a side and cheerlead from that sideline.  We must remain principled and call out the violence and wrongdoing on both sides. 

We will discuss this a lot more in the coming days, but for now, stay principled fellow libertarians and conservatives.  

For many years I didn’t celebrate Kwanzaa thinking it was some other religion or cult. But I then I got educated it’s not a religion it’s valid principles to live by. I accept and appreciate the culture of Kwanzaa. So Happy Kwanzaa! Day 1: Umoja (Unity) - Making a conscious effort to unify the family and community at large. #kwanzaa #day1 #culture #principles #educated #wisdom (at 😊 Happy Kwanzaa 😊)

You can’t just “be strong”.

Strength comes from patience and a refusal to sell out your integrity in order to try and please others. You can’t just summon strength at will. You must build it.

Every single time you feel you are being tested, don’t tell yourself to be strong. Rather encourage yourself to be patient and stand by your principles. Strength will come on its own.

The true measurement of a person’s worth isn’t what they say they believe in, but what they do in defense of those beliefs. If you’re not acting on your beliefs, then they probably aren’t real.
—  Edward Snowden quoted by Glenn Greenwald in “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State”

MENTALISM: the all is mind, the mind is all. The Universe, all energy, space & matter are a construct created by/for Universal Intelligence to operate. All phenomena are emanations of Cosmic Thought processes
CORRESPONDENCE: as above so below. The universe is self similar across scales. That which is within is like that which is without. Knowledge of the micro can create knowledge or the macro (vice verse).
VIBRATION: nothing is at rest. Everything moves & vibrates. From the lowest states of matter to the grandest forms of spirit, everything has various rates of vibration.
POLARITY: everything has its opposite, has two poles and is dual. Opposites are the same but differ only in degree
RHYTHM: everything moves in cycles, has an ebb and flow and is a wave function. When peaks are reached a fall must naturally occur.
CAUSE & EFFECT: every effect has a cause. Every cause an effect. Nothing ever merely happens.
GENDER: everything has a masculine & feminine principle. Every male thing/person has a female principle within (vice verse). These principles are forever in relation and represent the active & receptive forces.
SOURCE: These 7 cosmic principles come from the book The Kybalion written or transcribed by William Walker Atkinson 1908. It is credited to three initiates of a hermetic mystery school but it’s true origin is ultimately a mystery. Hermes was the Greek god of knowledge and wisdom; the Thoth of the Egyptian pantheon. It may even predate the Egypt of antiquity and come from an even earlier group of teachers who passed down these principles orally through the various mystery schools of the ages #history #truth #principles #universe #knowledge #sacred #science #spiritscience #spirituality #consciousawakening #cosmicconsciousness #oneness #evolution #thegreatwork #education #hermetic #occult #wisdomwednesdays

In a way I quite understand why some people are put off by Theology. I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F., an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, `I’ve no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal !’

Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.

Now, Theology is like the map. Merely learning and thinking about the Christian doctrines, if you stop there, is less real and less exciting than the sort of thing my friend got in the desert. Doctrines are not God: they are only a kind of map. But that map is based on the experience of hundreds of people who really were in touch with God-experiences compared with which any thrills or pious feelings you and I are likely to get on our own are very elementary and very confused. And secondly, if you want to get any further, you must use the map. You see, what happened to that man in the desert may have been real, and was certainly exciting, but nothing comes of it. It leads nowhere. There is nothing to do about it. In fact, that is just why a vague religion-all about feeling God in nature, and so on-is so attractive. It is all thrills and no work; like watching the waves from the beach. But you will not get to Newfoundland by studying the Atlantic that way, and you will not get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music. Neither will you get anywhere by looking at maps without going to sea. Nor will you be very safe if you go to sea without a map.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The task of a truly revolutionary party is not to declare that it is impossible to renounce all compromises, but to be able, through all compromises, when they are unavoidable, to remain true to its principles, to its class, to its revolutionary purpose, to its task of paving the way for revolution and educating the mass of the people for victory in the revolution.
—  Vladimir Lenin
Daily UX Crash Course: 1 of 31

My mission this month is to get more designers (or aspiring designers) started in User Experience design. The best place to start any education is at the beginning:

What is UX?

Everything has a user experience. Our job is not to create the user experience. It is our job to make it good.

And what do I mean by “good” user experience?

It is common to think that a good user experience is one that makes users happy. Not true! If happiness was our only goal, we could just throw in some Lolcats and random compliments and go home. But — although that’s not the worst universe I can imagine — your boss may not be satisfied with the results.

The goal of a UX designer is to make users effective.

A user’s experience is just the tip of the iceberg:

Many people mistakenly think that “UX” means a user’s experience, but it is actually about “doing” the process of User Experience Design.

A user’s individual experience is their conscious, subjective opinion of your app or site. User feedback is important — sometimes — but UX designers need to do a lot more than that.

"Doing" UX:

UX Design (also sometimes called UXD) involves a process very similar to doing science: we do research to understand the users, we develop ideas to solve the users’ needs — and the needs of the business — and we build and measure those solutions in the real world to see if they work.

You will learn about all of that this month. Or if that’s not your deal, Lolcats are still an option.

Tomorrow we’ll learn about the two types of UX goals that should change everything you design…

Watch on myreadisred.com


The full Chimamanda Adichie TED talk clip Bey sampled in “Flawless”

Watch on mormonchannel.tumblr.com

What does God expect us to do when we pray for help making decisions? Learn from Elder Holland’s true story.